Media Try To Sell a Dubious Public on the Benefits of 'Bidenomics'

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
July 5, 2023

With two-thirds of the country unhappy with how President Joe Biden is handling the economy, the White House will have to fight to sell Americans on "Bidenomics."

Fortunately Biden has some allies in the fight.

New York Times, "Biden Says He Is 'Turning Things Around' on the Economy":

President Biden began a concerted campaign on Wednesday to claim credit for an economic revival in America, powered by policies that he said represent a fundamental break from the Republican approach "that has failed America's middle class for decades."

Flanked by blue signs with the word "Bidenomics," Mr. Biden delivered what aides called a cornerstone speech of his presidency. In it, he hailed the impact of his economic agenda as the 2024 campaign cycle heats up.

CNN, "The 'Bidenomics' plan, explained":

Move over, Reaganomics. President Joe Biden is attempting to usher in the era of "Bidenomics."

This economic theory—which rejects the idea of "trickle-down" policies in favor of focusing on the middle class—will be a centerpiece of Biden's 2024 reelection campaign. The president highlighted the achievements he's attributing to Bidenomics in a major speech in Chicago on Wednesday.

Growing the economy from the middle out and the bottom up—not the top down—is Biden's mantra.

NPR, "Remember Reaganomics? Freakonomics? Now there's Bidenomics":

Bidenomics. It's the term the press (and the White House) are now using to sum up the president's economic agenda.

"Bidenomics… I don't know what the hell that is," Biden said at a union rally this month. "But it's working."

Perhaps it is. Unemployment is low. The economy is growing. But in surveys, voters disapprove of the president's economic leadership.

In a conversation on Morning Edition, host Steve Inskeep spoke with Biden's top economic adviser Jared Bernstein about Bidenomics.

Washington Post, "Embracing 'Bidenomics,' president seeks to turn insult into strength":

The White House's new embrace of Bidenomics is, in a sense, a reflection of political reality. A president almost always gets saddled with the economy, regardless of its condition and who is responsible. For the past two years, that has at times meant Americans were blaming Biden for inflation without crediting him for job creation, or punishing him for higher grocery prices without recognizing lower drug costs.

But despite enormous job growth and a fast-paced recovery from the pandemic, Biden and his advisers have long been frustrated that the president is not getting more credit for an economy that by many measures is thriving. Employers added nearly 340,000 jobs last month, defying predictions and continuing a blistering expansion of the labor market.

Bloomberg, "The U.S. Middle Class's Economic Anxiety Will Decide the 2024 Election":

Joe Biden is obsessed with the American middle class. It's the very spine of the U.S. economy, as the president regularly puts it, and the deliberate target of everything from his administration's efforts to rewrite economic policy and seed an industrial revival to its foreign policy and geopolitical competition with China.

The core premise of Bidenomics is that the middle shall come first.

"Bidenomics is about building an economy from the middle out and the bottom up, not the top down," Biden said in a Chicago speech last week, laying out his vision of a boom fueled by a surge in government investment.

According to the Associated Press, the White House lifted the term from positive reports on the president's economic ideas, some of which preceded his inauguration.

• October 2020, the Economist, "Bidenomics: the good, the bad, and the unknown":

Fear of just such a leftward lurch under Mr. Biden is circulating among some American business leaders. However … the charge is wide of the mark. Mr. Biden has rejected the utopian ideas of the left. His tax and spending proposals are reasonable. They imply only a modestly bigger state and attempt to deal with genuine problems facing America, including shoddy infrastructure, climate change, and the travails of small business. In fact, the flaw in Mr. Biden's plans is that in some areas they are not far-reaching enough.

• November 2020, Associated Press, "Bidenomics: More stimulus, tougher regulation, and gridlock":

Biden's election victory makes another shot of stimulus spending more likely, though probably not until after his inauguration in January. A package of $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion would add as much as 4.5% to growth next year, according to Capital Economics. That would be enough to return the economy to its pre-pandemic level by the end of 2021. Most economists note that the economy's painfully sluggish recovery from the 2008-2009 Great Recession was due in large part to government spending limits that took effect in 2010.

• November 2020, Bloomberg, "Bidenomics: What Middle-Class Joe Means for Business and the Economy":

President-elect Biden will probably bring a less confrontational tone on trade, a return to the Paris climate accord, and help for Americans who aren't rich.

But even the media admit that the economy has suffered under Biden:

Not even a "Bidenomics" media blitz can distract Americans from those problems: